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Wed narrowed down our Friday night choices to two contenders: Lemeac and L'Express. Primarily because we wanted bistro food at a late hour. L'Express had been compared to Balthazaar; crowds and less than desirable staff had been described (we decided to save that kind of traumatic atmosphere for Saturday night at Au Pied de Cochon). Leanings went towards Lemeac, plus it appeared they had an appetizer and entre set for $20 (Canadian) after 10pm, which was an added plus though I hadnt intended a penny-pinching vacation.

As it turned out, after settling into the hotel, getting ready, checking the internet and all that, by the time we finally traipsed into the city, we arrived at Lemeac at 10pm on the nose. And that just seemed tacky, like you were there only out of miserliness. I'm overly weird about perceptions of others and appearances so we killed a little time walking around the neighborhood in surprisingly chilly weather. Despite the brisk autumn breezes and threat of rain, we still opted to sit on the outdoor terrace.

My time paranoia didnt even end up mattering because the $20 special didnt appear in the menu anyway. Humiliation averted. It wasn't until tried to order that we were told they had a prix fixe deal thats only in the French language menu, which the waitress kindly brought over. At least she was courteous enough to notice our English menus missing piece (though it does make one wonder why they don't just put the same things in both menus–I had a mild phobia of anti-American bias. It does exist and is considerably more retarded than if you were in Europe since practically every Montrealer speaks perfect English. French-Canadians have issues).

So, my bargain meal consisted of a raw milk cheddar and vegetable tart to start and duck leg confit with fingerling potatoes and salad for a main. I love a nice frisee salad doused by duck fat and escaped juices. The potatoes were perfectly crisp and salty. It's the kind of food that comes across as simple and straightforward, but that I would never make at home. Doing basics just right is harder than it seems.

Lemeac* 1045 Laurier W, Montreal, Canada

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